I’ll tell you why she jumped. That bastard husband of hers couldn’t keep his pants zipped. She put up with it, for the kids. But then, he was the one who split. She and me were best friends in high school. I stayed here in Lynchburg, Central Virginia for college, now bookkeeper at the newspaper. Junie, she jumped at the chance to get out. That chance was a fast-talking UVA senior named John Miller, promised to take her to New York. He did, a dozen years and four kids later, she came back. Her family wasn’t a whole lot of help when she did. Junie told me, first words out of their mouths, Where are you going to live now? How are you going to support your children? I guess she shouldn’t have expected a cuddly reception, the way she ran off with John middle of senior year, her Ma still in the hospital. Irregardless, you’d think they’d care about their grand kids.Continue reading “Why Junie Jumped by Townsend Walker”
Betty’s blue sneakers are alongside of the road. My sneakers are red.Continue reading “Betty and My Sneakers by Townsend Walker”
The morning sun assaulted every nerve ending in my shattered brain and that same vicious sun illuminated the headline that hovered before my bleary eyes: Bigfoot’s Miraculous Aqua-Baby Discovered. I tried to focus, then I tried to blink it all away. Miserable failure was the result on both counts. I did not conjure clarity, nor did the strange bedroom disappear. I was forced to ask myself that most critical question. Where the fuck was I?Continue reading “When the Tabloids Ate My Best Friend by Marco Etheridge”
It was the moment of pure silence before we would set the forest on its ear with the roar of our chain saws. The deep woods that morning glistened with long tracts of snowy and scary silence, now and then broken by the creaking of a frozen limb swearing it would fall to earth. At best that fall would be a minor distortion, a minor distraction. Yet again, that creak sounded like a baby in the night, or a wailing or a keening, or, at an odder moment, like a voice given to what has no voice. At attention we stood, my friend Eddie LeBlanc and I, some twenty yards apart, some huge oaks apart, their ugly and monstrous arms clawing at early daylight.Continue reading “It’s All in the Maul by Tom Sheehan”
I’d just walked into the office and hadn’t had time to set my coffee down when Vicki stuck her head in and said, “HR wants you to call them, it’s about Jack.”
“Is he here?” I replied.
“In his cubicle, talking to Eileen.”Continue reading “Jack’s Back by David Thomas Peacock”
Tuesday morning and I’m driving. It’s cold outside and the windscreen is cloudy. I can see only through the little circle I have made by wiping my gloved hand against the glass. The circle keeps closing up, the world keeps getting smaller. There is nobody on the streets and the sky is low, the only motion outside the steaming shapes of stranger’s cars, indistinct forms defined against the grey by their movement.Continue reading “This Winter by Louie Richmond”
Holly More first got drunk at the reasonably late age of nineteen. On a late summer Saturday night in 1977, he dropped in on a pair of college classmates who shared a shithole studio apartment at the base of Seattle’s Capitol Hill. The roomies extolled the virtues of “Bokay” apple wine, which sold for sixty-nine cents a bottle. Ritzy nectars such as Boone’s Farm, T.J. Swann and, Allah-forbid, Lancer’s were too fancy-pants pricewise for students who earned $2.10 an hour at Work Study jobs. That left MD 20/20, Night Train, Thunderbird and Bokay. Since the first three were what the Pioneer Square bums drank, the guys went with the Bokay. Holly later found out that Bokay was the wine of last resort amongst the Pioneer Square bums.Continue reading “Elbows With Fishes by Leila Allison”
Nina and I were just kids when we started running into oncoming traffic. Dodging cars was something that felt natural – a part of growing up, facing demons we didn’t know we had. We’d sit on the low curb, flicking crisps into the gutter like cards into a top hat, then as we heard the rumbling of a car approach, we clamped hands and dashed into the street. We experienced short spurts of ecstasy, drifting away on a sublime high and yet the feelings were short-lived, elusive.
It wasn’t a lifetime but 37 years was a good stretch of time.
After a particularly vivid dream where the two spoke again finally, and connected intimately in the lobby of the apartment building he grew up in, Craig Bugowski woke up happy, and fished for his iPhone.
Karrie M. was on his list of Facebook friends.
She had accepted his FB invite two years prior.
Her birthday was a month ago. She was a Gemini.
If I think back to it, I can still feel that moment when I really thought you were going to burst my skull. Your whole weight pushing my head into the ground, your mouth right next to my ear, hissing at me that I couldn’t tell anyone. Like somehow if I did, people would mistake her illness for your weakness. Even after the first three times I’d promised I wouldn’t, you didn’t let go, and when you did, you left your knee buried in my chest. I carried that weight, your weight, every day until she died, all those years later. But I never told anyone, not even my parents. I even lied to them when it happened, and I pretended to share their shock and grief at the news.